US 6880484 B1
A double-walled container having a bottom wall, an exterior wall, and an interior wall disposed in concentric relation to the exterior wall. The bottom wall, the exterior wall, and the interior wall define a liquid fluid-holding reservoir. An annular top wall interconnects the exterior wall and the interior wall at their respective uppermost rims. A fill opening formed in the top wall enables introduction of liquid fluid into the liquid fluid-holding reservoir. The interior wall and the bottom wall define a soil or liquid fluid-holding space. A flow control valve extends through a first opening formed in the exterior wall and a second opening formed in the interior wall. Liquid fluid in the liquid fluid-holding reservoir is introduced into fluid communication with soil in the soil-holding space by opening the flow control valve. In another embodiment, a flask is retrofit into a single-walled container.
1. A device for delivering controlled amounts of water to a pet, comprising:
a bowl having a bottom wall, an upstanding side wall mounted about the bottom wall and projecting upwardly therefrom, a top wall, and a central aperture formed in said top wall;
said bottom wall, side wall, and top wall defining a water-holding space;
a container for holding water adapted to be disposed in inverted relation to said bowl, said container having a neck and a mouth, said neck adapted to extend through said central aperture when said container is supported in said inverted relation by said bowl;
said central aperture adapted to seal around said neck of said container so that water flows out of said container into said bowl until water in said bowl attains a depth that closes said mouth and prevents further water from flowing into said bowl;
a tray adapted to hold water secured to an exterior wall of said bowl;
a seeping chamber secured to an exterior wall of said bowl, said seeping chamber having a hollow interior and being contained within said tray and at least one opening formed in said seeping tray so that water seeping from said hollow interior of said seeping chamber through said at least one opening flows into said tray;
a first opening formed in said exterior wall of said bowl and a second opening formed in said exterior wall of said bowl in diametrically opposed relation to said first opening;
said second opening being in fluid communication with said hollow interior of said seeping chamber;
a flow control valve means having a control knob positioned on an exterior side of said side wall of said bowl; said flow control valve means having an elongate tapered stem secured to said control knob for conjoint rotation therewith, said elongate tapered stem extending through said first opening and said second opening and into said hollow seeping chamber;
whereby full rotation of said control knob in a first direction seals said first and second openings and so that rotation of said control knob in a second direction opposite to said first direction maintains said first opening in a sealed condition but opens said second opening so that water in said reservoir flows into said hollow interior of said hollow seeping chamber;
whereby liquid fluid in said liquid fluid-holding reservoir is introduced into said hollow seeping chamber when said control knob is rotated in said second direction;
whereby the flow rate of liquid fluid into said hollow seeping chamber is controllable by said flow control valve; and
whereby the rate of flow of liquid fluid from said at least one opening formed in said seeping chamber into said liquid fluid-holding space is controllable by adjustment of said flow control valve.
This disclosure is a divisional application claiming the benefit of the filing date of a U.S. patent application entitled: “Self-Watering and Fertilizing Pot for Plants” by the same inventor, filed on Sep. 13, 2002, bearing Ser. No. 10/065,065, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,691,460 B1.
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates, generally, to means for watering and fertilizing potted plants or flowers in vases. More particularly, it relates to means for watering and fertilizing means that conserves water.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Some plants require daily watering and cannot be left unattended for more than a few days. Other plants require drying out between watering. Their roots are heavily soaked, allowed to dry over a period of a week or so, and then heavily watered again.
These plants may be left unattended for a little more than a week, but not much more.
Plants also require fertilizer, but usually on a less frequent basis than water.
Numerous self-watering pots have been developed to enable plant caretakers to take vacations or to avoid daily and weekly watering of plants for other reasons. Typically, these methods include a remote reservoir of water in fluid communication with one of more pots.
In some designs, wicks are employed to draw water from an external reservoir into the soil within which a plant is rooted.
One of the drawbacks of the known systems is that no means are provided to regulate water flow to individual plants. Thus, all plants in the network receive about the same amount of water over a given period of time. Thus, too much water is provided to some plants and too little to others. As a result, water is wasted through excessive evaporation or by draining from the bottom of a pot containing an over-watered plant. Some plants are killed from over-watering and some die from under-watering.
However, in view of the prior art considered as a whole at the time the present invention was made, it was not obvious to those of ordinary skill in the pertinent art how the drawbacks of the known plant-watering systems could be overcome.
The long-standing but heretofore unfulfilled need for a self-watering pot for plants is now met by a new, useful, and nonobvious invention.
In a first embodiment, the novel structure includes a double-walled container having a bottom wall, an exterior wall extending upwardly from a peripheral edge of the bottom wall, and an interior wall extending upwardly from the bottom wall in concentric relation to the exterior wall.
A liquid fluid-holding reservoir is defined by the bottom wall, the exterior wall, and the interior wall.
A top wall of annular or other predetermined configuration interconnects the exterior wall and the interior wall at their respective uppermost rims. A fill opening is formed in the top wall to enable introduction of liquid fluid into the liquid fluid-holding reservoir.
A soil or liquid fluid-holding space is defined by the interior wall and the bottom wall. A first opening is formed in the exterior wall and a second opening is formed in the interior wall in alignment therewith.
A flow control valve means extends through the first and second openings. The flow control valve means includes a control knob mounted to the proximal end of an elongate tapered stem. The control knob is external to the pot and the elongate tapered stem is immersed in the liquid fluidholding reservoir.
The elongate tapered stem has a distal end adapted to extend into the soil. The stem is disposed through the first and second openings so that full rotation of the control knob in a first direction seals the first and second openings and so that rotation of the control knob in a second direction opposite to the first direction maintains the first opening in a sealed condition but opens the second opening so that water in the liquid fluid-holding reservoir flows into the soil or liquid-fluid folding space.
In this way, the control valve can be set so that liquid fluid gradually seeps into the soil or the liquid fluid-holding space at a preselected rate. Accordingly, a plant rooted in the soil receives water from the liquid fluid-holding reservoir for an extended period of time so that a human need not water the plant on a daily of weekly basis and so that water is concerved.
In a second embodiment, a false bottom wall is positioned in parallel relation to the true bottom wall, upwardly thereof to create a second liquid fluid-holding reservoir between the false bottom wall and the true bottom wall so that the soil that is in the soil or liquid fluid-holding space is supported by the false bottom wall.
In this second embodiment, at least one opening is formed in the interior wall above a plane defined by the true bottom wall and below a plane defined by the false bottom wall so that liquid fluid in the liquid fluid-holding reservoir flows into a second liquid fluid-holding reservoir defined by the true bottom wall, the false bottom wall, and a lower part of the interior wall having said at least one opening formed therein.
In additional embodiments, vases are provided for holding flowers and containers are provided for holding water for feeding animals. No soil is contained in such additional embodiments.
In another embodiment, a plurality of self-watering, self-fertilizing pots are connected to a manifold that is connected to a holding tank. Timers on the manifold control the delivery of water to the respective reservoirs of each potted plant. A flow control valve is provided on each pot in the network of pots so that a user controls the individual requirements of each plant as in the earlier embodiments.
Another embodiment includes an apparatus that is retrofit into a pot for plants, so that the pot becomes a self-watering pot. It is provided in the form of a single-walled container or flask having a bottom wall, a side wall mounted about and extending upwardly from a peripheral edge of the bottom wall, and a top wall. A liquid fluid-holding reservoir is defined by the bottom wall, the side wall, and the top wall. A fill opening is formed in the top wall so that liquid fluid may be introduced into the liquid fluid-holding reservoir.
The single-walled container has a narrow structure to facilitate its insertion into soil contained within a conventional single-walled pot for plants. A flow control valve means has an elongate tapered stem that extends through the container.
The elongate tapered stem has a distal end adapted to extend into the soil. The flow control valve means has a control knob positioned on an external surface of the single-walled container. Full rotation of the control knob in a first direction is adapted to prevent flow of water from the liquid fluid-holding reservoir into the soil and rotation of the control knob in a second direction opposite to the first direction is adapted to enable liquid fluid in the reservoir to flow into the soil. In this way, the flow rate of liquid fluid into the soil is controllable by the flow control valve means.
The control knob is mounted on the external surface of the container at the top wall thereof and a linkage means interconnects the control knob to the tapered stem. The linkage means includes an elongate control shaft that rotates conjointly with the control knob, a first gear means mounted to a distal end of the elongate control shaft that rotates conjointly with the control shaft, and a second gear means mounted on the elongate tapered stem that is driven by the first gear means so that rotation of the control knob in a first direction effects simultaneous rotation of the elongate tapered shaft in a first direction and so that rotation of the control knob in a second direction effects simultaneous rotation of the elongate tapered shaft in a second direction opposite to the first direction. Rotation of the control knob in the first direction therefore reduces a flow rate of liquid fluid into the soil and rotation of the control knob in the second direction increases the flow rate.
A seeping chamber may be secured to the container on a sidewall thereof that abuts the soil when the container is positioned within the pot. The seeping chamber has at least one weep opening formed therein. The seeping chamber is adapted to house the distal end of the elongate tapered stem so that liquid fluid flowing from the liquid fluid filled space must first enter the seeping chamber before flowing into the soil through the at least one weep opening.
A wick means having a first end disposed within the seeping chamber and a second end disposed external to the seeping chamber may be provided as well. The second end is adapted to be in contact with the soil, there being an opening formed in the seeping chamber through which the wick extends.
The primary object of this invention is to preserve water resources.
An important object of this invention is to provide a pot for potted plants that delivers an appropriate amount of water or liquid nutrient to the soil within which the plant is rooted so that water is not wasted.
Another important object is to provide a plant-watering system that handles multiple plants at a time, sending to each a correct amount of water on a timely basis.
Other objects include the provision of water to flower vases or pet dishes.
These and other important objects, advantages, and features of the invention will become clear as this description proceeds.
The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combination of elements, and arrangement of parts that will be exemplified in the description set forth hereinafter and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.
For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be made to the following detailed description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
Referring now to
Pot 10 is double-walled, having true bottom wall 11 and having exterior wall 12 and interior wall 14 separated by a liquid fluid-holding reservoir 16 (
When fully seated, cap 28 could cause formation of a vacuum at the top of pot 10, preventing water 25 from flowing. Accordingly, slot 30 (
One of the important teachings of this invention relates to prevention of over-watering. To ensure that plant 20 in pot 10 is neither under nor over-watered, flow control valve 32 is provided near the bottom of pot 10. In this first embodiment, flow control valve 32 has an elongate downwardly tapered stem 36 that extends through an opening formed in exterior wall 12, said opening lined with a suitable bushing 35 (
Accordingly, counterclockwise rotation of control knob 34 backs elongate tapered stem 36 out of sealing relation to bushing 37 so that water 25 in reservoir 16 may flow into soil 22. Due to the downwardly tapered structure of stem 36, increased counterclockwise rotation of control knob 34 increases the flow rate of water 25 into soil 22 and clockwise rotation reduces said flow rate until it becomes zero when control valve 32 is fully seated. In this way, the flow rate of water into soil 22 may be tightly controlled.
A tough sheet of tissue or paper, not shown, could be wrapped around elongate tapered stem 36 to help keep soil out of reservoir 16. When flow control valve 32 is at least slightly open, the water flow from reservoir 16 would help clean soil from the tissue as needed, flushing the soil back into the soil-holding space.
As depicted in increased detail in
The second embodiment of this invention, depicted in
In a variation of the second embodiment, depicted in
A shallow flower vase 50 having no soil is depicted in
The embodiment of
Check valve 60 is added to the distal free end of elongate tapered stem 36 in the fourth embodiment of the invention, depicted in
A fifth embodiment, having an elevated control knob 70, is depicted in
Shaft 72 is secured to elevated control knob 70 and a boss 74 formed in the radially outward side of interior wall 14 rotatably engages the free end of shaft 72. Shaft 72 carries gear 76 that meshes with horizontally disposed gear 78 that surmounts elongate shaft 80. A small worm-like gear 82 is formed in the lowermost end of shaft 80 and said gear 82 meshingly engages a larger gear 84 carried by elongate tapered stem 36 of the lower flow control valve. Gears 76, 78, 82, and 84 thus form a gear train that translates rotation of shaft 72 into simultaneous and corresponding rotation of elongate tapered stem 36 of flow control valve 32. Vertically spaced apart linkage braces 86, 88 provide lateral support to shaft 80 and are of open construction to allow water to flow therethrough.
A seventh embodiment, depicted in
As best understood in connection with
An eighth embodiment, depicted in
More particularly, as depicted in
The narrow structure of flask 146 facilitates its insertion into a single-walled conventional pot.
As best depicted in
An eleventh embodiment is depicted in
The use of flask 146 enables consumers to enjoy the benefits provided by double-walled containers even if a plant is in a single-walled pot.
Each of these embodiments promotes the conservation of water to an extent heretofore not achievable in the context of potted plants and pet watering trays. Widespread use of these embodiments will substantially limit the wasteful use of water now associated with potted plants and pets.
It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, and those made apparent from the foregoing description, are efficiently attained. Since certain changes may be made in the above construction without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matters contained in the foregoing description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described, and all statements of the scope of the invention that, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.
Now that the invention has been described,